American Guns Fuel Violent Unrest in Haiti

( – Haiti is continuing to endure lawlessness and de facto gang rule in major parts of the country following the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry two weeks ago. Henry had been occupying the role since the assassination of the previous prime minister, Jovenel Moïse in July 2021. His refusal to hold timely elections was one of the major contributing factors to the uprising, amidst accusations of corruption.

While Henry has promised a “transitional council” to select the next prime minister, details haven’t been forthcoming and no timeline exists yet. One of the major problems facing any new government is the inundation of the tiny island nation with thousands of American-made guns.

Teenager David Charles escaped the violence in Port-au-Prince by traveling by bus to Cap-Haitien, a town in the rural north of the country where gangs haven’t taken over. David was living in the capital to get his education, but his father, Israel, told him to come home where it was much safer.

The young man said the bus ride was over six hours and at one point they heard heavy gunfire, but thankfully no one was hit and they were able to complete their journey.

One man speaking with the media blamed the U.S. He said that “all the guns here are from the U.S.” Pleading with the media he said that American authorities could stop this in “one month” if they wanted to. A UN report from earlier this year found that the tiny island nation which doesn’t manufacture its own weapons was being flooded with guns of all kinds. The report estimated there were half a million firearms on the island as of 2020.

The report showed that smuggled weapons and ammunition were coming from the states of Texas, Florida, and Georgia. Previously, weapons caches were seized by government authorities who found them hidden among humanitarian donations like clothes and toys for kids.

Haitian authorities seized a shipment of dozens of guns and over 15,000 rounds of ammo that were concealed inside donations for a Haitian church. The report also highlighted how temporary airstrips used in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake are being used by smugglers.

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